When your family owns a jazz club, the music rubs off on you. Growing up in New Jersey among musicians, writer Gregory Pardlo was moved by the solos he heard, the layered improvisations that come only after years of training, playing and experimentation. “I am very much interested in the relationship between preparation and spontaneous expression,” Pardlo says. It’s a hook that pervades his work as a poet and anchors much of Digest, his second book of verse.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Digest is a deep exploration of identity, home and fatherhood. Pardlo swings from poignant personal to intellectual rigor, with frequent bursts of humor, and three “improvisations” where he pushes the boundaries of poetic form and imagination. It’s rich, melodic, and intricate. As the book title implies, there’s a lot to chew on and process here, but Pardlo’s unique talent is to tempt us to the table for more.
Digest was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award, named a standout book by the Academy of American Poets, and a New York Times best poetry book of the year. Pardlo's other awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review, and lives in Brooklyn with his family.